Models of dental care for people experiencing homelessness in the UK: a scoping review of the literature

Natalie Bradley*, Ellie Heidari, Sam Andreasson, Tim Newton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background People who experience homelessness have poor oral health and face barriers to accessing care. Recommendations have been outlined for health services to address their needs, termed 'inclusion health'. The Smile4Life report recommended three 'tiers' of dental service: emergency, ad hoc and routine care. Other medical services have developed into different models of care, for example mainstream practices with enhanced services for people who experience homelessness. There is little understanding of how inclusion health recommendations have been implemented across dental settings. Aims To describe and compare dental services that exist for people who experience homelessness in the UK. Methods Two Medline searches were performed in October 2020 to assess the models of dental care for people who experience homelessness in the UK. Results Nine dental services in the UK were identified who treated people who experience homelessness. Most did not explore definitions of homelessness. There were a mixture of models, including using blended approaches, such as different sites and appointment types, to flex to the needs of their population. Conclusion Many services that are dedicated to treat this population are based in the community dental services which allows for flexible models of care due to sporadic patient attendance, high treatment requirements and complex needs. More research is required to determine how other settings can accommodate these patients, as well as understanding how more rural populations access dental care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-824
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Volume234
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023

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